I Am So Stupid!

I can't believe how stupid I am. I received an email with an attachment this evening that was supposably from my dad. Despite the fact that I received it during a time when I knew my dad wasn't home to send it, and despite the misspelling of the subject and the filename
"fotos," I opened the attachment anyway. Really, I do know better than to do that. Well, it wasn't until I double clicked on the .zip file that I decided that I shouldn't have done that. So I then decided that I better update my subscription to receive antivirus definitions for my antivirus program -- my subscription ended about a week ago -- then scan my computer for viruses. Guess what, it found one! Fortunately it was one that was a fairly low-level threat and which wouldn't do much damage. I just can't believe I fell for it!


Reflections On My Twenties

It looks like Kevin Smith has decided to do a sequel to Clerks which came out ten years ago. The sequel is to be titled The Passion of the Clerks and takes place ten years after the original film.

"It's about what happens when that lazy, 20-something malaise lasts into your 30s. Those dudes are kind of still mired, not in that same exact situation, but in a place where it's time to actually grow up and do something more than just sit around and dissect pop culture and talk about sex," Smith said during an interview at his Hollywood office. "It's: What happened to these dudes?"

I can relate to this concept. Now in my 30s, I have recently had strong desires not to grow up. I like the idea of being able to do what I want, whenever I want to, but I don't feel that I have that freedom right now. Certain obligations accompany having a girlfriend. I like spending time with her, but I also like the time I have to be alone or to spend with my friends. Right now I am feeling that I didn't take full advantage of all of things I could do in my 20s when I wasn't seeing anyone. However, I suppose there comes a time when one just has to grow up and become a responsible adult, but I don't think that means that I have to give up dissecting pop culture and talking about sex.


Losing Weight

I don't mean to gloat, but in the past thirteen weeks I have been trying, and succeeding I might add, to lose weight. I signed up for a diet program through eDiets.com. I am not doing any of the "trendy" diets such as Atkins or South Beach. Instead, I am just cutting back on calories. Since May 31 when I first weighed in, I have lost 25 pounds, reducing my weight from 243 pounds to 218 pounds. That's an average of about two pounds per week, which is what is recommended. In the time that I have been dieting, my body mass index has dropped from 30.48 (obese) to 27.35 (overweight). I am not just 18 pounds from the upper limit of my healthy weight range. I should be in that range in nine weeks if I keep up with my diet. The website has my goal weight as 173 pounds, but I think that is a little low for me. I'll be perfectly happy if I can get my weight to around 185 pounds. I should be able to reach that goal by Christmas, just in time to get new, smaller-sized pants, as presents.


Reading a recent post by a good friend of mine has me thinking about my vote in November. I don't really like to talk about politics much, mainly because I don't feel that I can express my opinions on the subject eloquently. Now most of my friends know where I sit for the most part, slightly left of center. Sometimes however I wish I were more extreme in my views as that would make it so much easier to make a decision on who to vote for. I have to admit, I can live with whoever wins the election in November. Ok, I have to live with it. What other choice do I have? I, unlike my mother, am not one of those people who has wasted the last four years bitching and moaning about the outcome of the 2000 election. What good can it do? If I hear her say how Bush was selected, not elected, one more time, I think I will scream. While I don't agree with many of Bush's policies, there are aspects of his administration that I do agree with.

To many, I may look like I am completely decided on the upcoming election, but I still have doubts about my candidate. I admit, this whole swift-boat issue has me questioning the truthfulness of Kerry, although I also have doubts about Bush's ability to tell the truth all of the time. I may be registered as a Democrat, but I am largely an independent voter. In the three presidential elections in which I have voted I have voted for both Democrats and Republicans. Only one out of those three times did the person for whom I voted win the election.

My main problem in this election is that I don't feel that I really fit into either of the two major political groups entirely well. I tend to agree with the Democrats on many social issues, but there are some with which I agree more strongly with the Republicans. I suppose I could try to find a third-party candidate who better reflects my feelings on the issues, but in our two-party system I would essentially be wasting my vote. Oh I suppose it would "send a message" to the major parties, but they'll just ignore it. As I said earlier, if I had stronger convictions one way or the other, deciding who would be the better President would be a much easier decision.

Guys' Night Out

I had a great time last night. Some female friends of mine decided that they were going to have a girls' night out with my girlfriend and some other people I don't really know, so I decided I would get together with some of my own friends. I really had a great time. Since I live an hour away from most of my friends, I don't get to see them too often. We had a wonderful dinner at a new restaurant in Cedar Rapids named Bonehead's. I heartily recommend it! We also, well most of us anyway, went to Target and Barnes & Noble. Ok, those aren't the most exciting places to go, but not knowing when my girlfriend would be done with what she was doing, and the fact that it was 9:00 and we had a seven-year-old with us, limited our choices of entertainment, but we had a good time. It wasn't so much about what we did, but the fact that we got to hang out.

Being back in Cedar Rapids and hanging out with my friends really makes me miss living there. I wish I could just go out whenever I wanted to visit with my friends. Unfortunately, the distance between us makes that difficult. I am considering moving back to that area, or actually about 20 miles away, next summer if I decide to leave teaching and I can get a job with the company I worked for this summer. For now though, I guess I will just have to make the time to visit my friends more often.


Diet Coke with Lemon = Lemon Pledge

From the reactions I received from people when stating my opinion about Diet Coke with Lemon -- that it tastes like Lemon Pledge -- I thought I was crazy. However, last night I was watching Grounded for Life on the WB and one of the main characters on the show made a similar comment. Since I doubt that anyone I have spoken with about my opinion on the Diet Coke product has spoken with the producers of this program, I must not be the only one in the country with this opinion.

Note: I have never actually tasted Lemon Pledge, but I can imagine what it tastes like from the small.


Apparently flip-flopping on issues isn't limited to just the democrats.



Feel free to add a caption to the photo in the comments section of this post. I would write a caption of my own but I am in too much pain from just looking at the photo.

The First Real Day of School

Today, with all students returning, was really the first day of school, and it went well. I am feeling pretty good about teaching AP Calculus. I don't think it will be too bad once I get into it and Algebra 1 won't be a problem. I am going to try to plan further ahead this year so I am sure to get to where I am supposed to be at the end of the year. Computer Programming is making me a bit nervous, mainly because several of the computers in the lab are not yet working correctly. Hopefully the computers will be ready on Monday, or else I don't know what I am going to do with a classroom of 28 students.

Talking with one of my colleagues after school today, I learned that she has a student who I had last year. This student was very disruptive and eventually ended up getting removed from my class. Well, this student is off to a great start this year. Apparently he almost got kicked out of class on the first day of school for being constantly disruptive.

I have a lot of planning to do this weekend so that the school year starts out right.


And So It Begins

School starts tomorrow, although it's only going to be for the freshmen and other students new to the building. This year we are starting school out by having orientation for new students. I guess that the orientation we did previously, which was held on the day before school began, wasn't sufficient. I must admit that there are a lot of things for the students to get used to. The building is fairly large, and with over 1800 students in the halls, it can be hard to find what one is looking for. Also, we are going to spend a lot of time on lunch procedures which can be somewhat confusing. It's a lot more complicated than when I was in school. On Friday everyone else returns to school. Then the real fun begins.

Beach Volleyball Photo of the Day

The U.S. beach volleyball team of Kerri Walsh and Misty May won the gold medal in Athens yesterday, beating Brazil. Here's a photo of them after their win. What else can I say?


Opening Day

This morning was my school district's opening day conference for all school district employees. Unlike the meeting I had yesterday morning, this meeting ran ahead of schedule. As we entered the auditorium, there was a band playing and a montage of photos from the previous school year being projected onto a large screen. One of the photos was this one which today I saw at Cop Talk. I had assumed that this photo originated somewhere in my school district, but now I am not sure. Perhaps the person putting together the presentation came across it somewhere and thought it would be funny to include it.

The conference was fine. Like most conferences of its type, the main purpose was to inspire us all, and I suppose it did have that effect to some small degree. One particular point that the superintendent made that really made me think was that we must believe in our students' abilities to learn. I've always felt that every student can learn. What we were reminded of is that if we don't think that a certain student can be successful, he or she will pick up on it, even if we don't verbalize those feelings. So, if we don't want to leave any students behind, we must believe that each student can succeed.


Bicycling Log

I almost didn't go for a bike ride tonight, but I decided that I really should since I didn't have any real work that I had to get done for school. I cut my ride a little short because I saw lightning in the distance. After I got home, I found out that the storm was not heading in my direction

August 23
Distance: 11.24 mi
Time: 0:48:48
Average Speed: 15.7 mi/h
Maximum Speed: 30.5 mi/h

Totals for 2004
Distance: 822.97 mi
Time: 61:31:18

Gotta Love the Olympics

Ok, I haven't exactly been watching a lot of the Olympics, but I have watched the women's beach volleyball on occasion, and I must say that it is a fun sport to watch. Maybe I should consider Brazil for my next vacation.

Purple: The New Red

Apparently red is a scary color to school students.

"If you see a whole paper of red, it looks pretty frightening," said Sharon Carlson, a health and physical education teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Northampton. "Purple stands out, but it doesn't look as scary as red."

Hmmm, isn't red a frightening color because students are used to seeing it to mean mistakes on their papers? If so, won't purple just become a frightening color once they get used to seeing it instead of red on their papers? Maybe I'll give this a try for the school year. It would give me an excuse to buy some news pens. :-)

Back to Work

Today was my first day back at work. Our morning at school started with an informal breakfast, giving us time to catch up with our colleagues who we haven't seen in a few months. I must say that Panera Bread has terrific bagels and to make them easier to eat, and to not eat too much, they even slice them up into sections. After the nice breakfast, we were treated to a torturous three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting. After lunch, for which I went to Panera (love that new seafood bisque), I finally had time to work in my classroom. I really don't feel ready for school which begins on Thursday. Fortunately only the incoming freshmen, and any other new students, will be at school that day, which we will use as an orientation day. Everyone else is supposed to show up on Friday. We'll see how well that works.

At our lengthy staff meeting this morning, we were informed that our school is a "school in need of assistance" as far as the No Child Left Behind Act is concerned. We met all of our academic goals, and at least 95% of our eleventh grade students took the math and reading portions of the Iowa Tests of Educational Development. Where we fell short was with participation in one of the subgroups assessed. That would be something such as low socioeconomic status or a subgroup defined by race. In one group of 57, only 53 students took the test, giving us a participation rate of 93% for that group. Because of that, our school is now in need of assistance. I don't believe that there are any consequences for us right now since we do not receive Title 1 funds, but it's still not a good label to have, and it is going to create extra work for the administration which now has to develop a plan to make improvements.


Visit to the "In-Laws'"

Ok, I'm not married, so technically I don't have any in-laws, but I did go to my girlfriend's parents' house today to celebrate her brother's birthday which was last week. We had a nice lunch and spent some time playing some games. Her family has some odd qualities, but I suppose most families do -- mine sure does -- but I am getting used to it. It's nothing I can't handle, and I feel fairly comfortable around them. On the way back home, she told me about how long her parents had dated before getting engaged and it was really short, six weeks I think! I got the impression that she had just learned this recently.

I am also getting used to some of the things that my girlfriend enjoys that I could do without. One of these is scary movies. I generally am not a big fan of movies which have the purpose of scaring the bejesus out of the viewer. We watched Taking Lives yesterday after dinner, and while it did have me scared for some of the characters, it was a good movie. Now, I did figure out who the killer was about halfway through it, but it was still good. Besides, I wasn't absolutely certain. Recently we have also seen The Village and Secret Window, both of which I enjoyed.


Nice Bike Ride

For lunch today, I exceeded my lunch calorie allowance by about 67% by going to Burger King, that coupled with eating out at Olive Garden last night meant that I needed to get some exercise, so my girlfriend and I decided to go for a bike ride. I have to say that it was a pleasant bike ride. We went on my standard 10-mile ride which makes a nice loop around town going along the Cedar River for a while, but I had to ride a lot slower than I usually do. I swear I was coasting about half of the way. It was still a nice ride though, even though I didn't get the same amount of exercise I normally would have.

August 21
Distance: 10.59 mi
Time: 1:03:07
Average Speed: 10.0 mi/h
Maximum Speed: 20.5 mi/h

Totals for 2004
Distance: 811.73 mi
Time: 60:49:30


Another Wasted Day

Sitting here, in front of my computer, I just realized that I have practically wasted away an entire day. Oh, I did mow my lawn this morning, but the rest of the day was mostly spent watching court shows on TV. In fact, I'd be watching Judge Judy right now if it weren't one that I have already seen. Instead, I am watching Cops on FX and the program is giving me the urge to visit Las Vegas as this episode is set there.

During the spring of last year I interviewed for a few teaching jobs in Las Vegas and I was very likely going to be offered. For several reasons I decided not take a job there at the time, but the thought of moving there keeps coming up. Now to complicate matters, I have a girlfriend here, so if I were to move to Vegas, that would be an issue. She might not be opposed to moving there however. Anyway, it's a moot point for the moment as I may decide to leave teaching after this school year depending on how the year goes and on other job opportunities which may develop in the coming months.


Bicycling Log

I am copying my good friend Space Monkey Leader in putting an exercise log on my blog. I figure that it will help to keep me motivated if others know what I am doing.

August 19
Distance: 16.09 mi
Time: 1:03:50
Average Speed: 15.1 mi/h
Maximum Speed: 33.5 mi/h

Totals for 2004
Distance: 801.14 mi
Time: 59:45:23

The End of Summer

I am really looking forward to getting back to work next week. The week and a half that I have had off since ending my summer job have been nice, but it's putting my diet at risk. Sitting at home all day with a refrigerator and cabinet full of food makes it quite tempting to eat. As it is, I have been going through way too much pop the past week. Fortunately, it's all diet pop, so I don't have to worry about the calories. I've managed to stay away from the food for the most part except of course when it is time to eat.

Of course, I am also ready to get back to teaching. I truly enjoy helping my students to learn, if only they all enjoyed learning in return. But, I suppose that without a challenge, work wouldn't be work. Until then, I still have a day and a half to watch my Deep Space Nine DVDs. I'm only part way through season five of seven, and the first season of the original Star Trek series comes out on DVD in just twelve days.


Hey Everyone!

I've been blogging off and on for a few months on another site, but after looking into Blogger, I feel that it has better features. So, I am going to abandon my old blog and move in here.

My previous blog really had no central purpose and neither does this one. It is just a place for me to share my thoughts about whatever is on my mind with whoever stops by to read it.